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Nadal off the mark in Brazil

ESPN staff
February 15, 2013 « Highs and lows for Donald in LA | Chartbeat test »
Rafael Nadal is a long way off his best, © Getty Images
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Rafael Nadal put his left knee through another successful test against Joao Souza in the Brasil Open and won 6-3 6-4.

Nadal made his return after nearly eight months out at the VTR Open in Chile last week, ultimately losing to Horacio Zeballos in the final.

Zeballos is the world No. 73 while Souza is the world No. 140 and the proximity of his latest opponent in both sets in Sao Paulo shows how far the Spaniard has to go to regain his all-action game.

But when the world No. 5 was put under pressure early in the second set he dusted off his best first serve and saved the break point against him before going on to take victory.

In order to save his knee for the singles draw, Nadal pulled out of the doubles competition, which he was entered in with David Nalbandian. He now faces Carlos Berlocq in the quarter-finals.

Nadal is a former champion of this tournament from 2005 when it was held in Costa do Sauipe.

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